SADARA – The construction site diary part III

In the third part of the construction site diary, we describe the commissioning of the FEIGE filling equipment at the SADARA chemical complex in Al Jubail Industrial City 2, Saudi-Arabia.


Three years after construction work began, FEIGE was finally able to start "pre-commissioning" - the simulated commissioning of the systems without product - in August 2016.

This enabled the experts to make fine adjustments and optimize the entire, fully automatic production process. In total, FEIGE has installed huge empty drum storage with robot de-palletizing, six high-tech filling lines for 24 different products and seven different drum types as well as an out-feed area for manual drum removal and palletizing in the new complex in Jubail.

As has often been the case in recent years, Uwe Tonnemacher and his colleagues have arrived from Bad Oldesloe for several weeks especially for the pre-commissioning phase. The FEIGE employees therefore know the procedure very well: With the airplane their journey takes them via Frankfurt directly to Dammam, where an immigration procedure is awaiting them. If aircraft from Asia arrive at the same time, this may even take as long as six hours. Their accommodation is a pleasant hotel but there is not much variety and apart from a shisha bar and some restaurants there is little to experience.

But that's not so bad, because the working days are long: The day starts at 06:30 in the morning when the experts are taken near to the industrial site by a driver. The daily three-kilometer journey on the premises, passing several gates sometimes takes an hour before they reach their workplace, because not only the visitor's gate but also 5 different checkpoints with identification, drug and bomb control have to be passed. Inside the hall, the FEIGE employees are met by over 40° C (104 ° F) in the summer months despite air conditioning. But the men have also already experienced rain and sandstorms. They work until 5 p.m., and then they return to the hotel - six days a week, except for Fridays. "My weekly highlight was 'Betty's Diagnosis' (a weekly soap on German TV) on Friday nights or visiting the hyper market LULU where you can buy all the products in the world - there's no other entertainment there," Uwe Tonnemacher says.

After the simulation phase, the FEIGE crew returned to Jubail in March 2017 with 5 men - because now things were getting serious:

The workers, mainly men from Pakistan, India and the Philippines, got to know the system and the processes through training courses. Their tasks consist only partly in operating the fully automatic machine - it is above all important that they know what to do in the event of malfunctions. And they have to maintain the system - each and every day. This is because the heat and above all the fine desert sand, which despite the completely enclosed hall penetrates through every gap, are placing great strain on the technology. Cleaning and oiling are therefore part of the preventive maintenance measures every day.

The handover for production to SADARA, including the legal responsibility, only took place in October 2017. From March until today, FEIGE has always been on site with at least one technician for further training and production support. The filling equipment were adjusted and partly modified to fill the products to-the-gram, without drippings and fulfilling the required output. On the whole, 400 000 drums with 200 l each were filled!!

After a total of four years, the SADARA project will then be completed for FEIGE and the desert adventure will be over for the time being.

But no worries, things will continue - another modification has just been started for optimizing the existing equipment.

SADARA wants to increase the capacity of the >Liquid Center<. In a first step, a time-consuming revamping will then take place at 2 filling systems to nearly double the output from 60 to 100 drums per hour.


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